Top varsity officials deny graft charges

Maasai Mara University officials when they were arraigned in court for siphoning Sh177 million from the institution's coffers. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Maasai Mara University Vice-Chancellor, two Deputy Vice Chancellors, a finance officer and a driver have denied corruption charges related to misappropriation of Sh177 million.

VC Mary Walingo, her deputies Simon Kasaine Ole Seno (Administration), John Almadi Obare (AgDVC Finance), Anaclet Biket Okumu, (Finance) and Noor Hassan Abdi the VCs driver pleaded not guilty via video link at the Nakuru Central Police Station where they were being held.

They were released on a Sh20 million bond each with a surety of similar amount. By the time of going to press, their lawyers, family members were trying to comply with the bail terms.

The suspects who appeared before Nakuru Chief Magistrate Elizabeth Usui, denied ten charges ranging from conspiracy to commit corruption offences, willful failure to comply with the law relating to management of public funds, abuse of office, fraudulent false accounting and stealing by person.

According to the charges, the five allegedly between January 24 and July 19, 2019 at Maasai Mara University in Narok conspired to misappropriate public funds amounting to Sh177,007,754 from the institution.

The office of the DPP revealed that they have lined up 27 witnesses in the case who are still employees of the university.

Usui in her ruling dismissed the application to bar the five from stepping into the institution adding that there was no evidence of attempted interference with witnesses.

The case will be mentioned on September 11.